Application Deadline: Friday, January 12, 2018.
The Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program was founded in 1993 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, in order to train women’s human rights lawyers from Africa who are committed to returning home to their countries to advance the status of women and girls throughout their careers.
The entire LAWA Fellowship Program is approximately 14 months long – from July of the first year through late August of the following year. LAWA Fellows commit to returning home to continue advocating for women’s rights in their own countries. The LAWA Program starts in early July, when the Fellows attend the Georgetown Law Center’s Foundations of American Law course. From August through May, the LAWA Fellows earn a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at Georgetown with an emphasis on international women’s human rights and complete a major graduate paper on a women’s rights issue. Fellows also participate in professional development seminars and networking events with recent U.S. law school graduates who are working in the field of women’s rights.
After graduation, the LAWA Fellows have an opportunity to engage in challenging work assignments for several months at various public interest organizations to learn about different advocacy strategies to advance women’s human rights, before returning to their important women’s rights work in their home countries.
- Candidates who are awarded a LAWA Fellowship must be prepared to cover the costs of all additional expenses (such as visas, travel, housing, utilities, food, clothing, health insurance, books, fees, etc.). Candidates must be able to demonstrate to the U.S. Embassy for visa purposes that they have the full amount of funds available to cover these expenses at the time of their visa application. This totals over U.S. $28,000. For the summer internship portion, students need to show $2,232 per month, for the 2 to 3 month internship period. These costs are significantly less if you can affirm that you will reside with family in the Washington, DC area.
- Candidates are encouraged to apply for individual funding, or seek support from their employers. The LAWA Program does not have the capacity to assist with these efforts. Please refer to this for a sample budget from the last school year https://www.law.georgetown.edu/admissions-financial-aid/office-of-financial-aid/resources/upload/Budget-16-17.pdf.
- There is a fellowship available from AAUW in the amount of $18,000. The application can be found here http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/international-fellowships/if-application/. You are strongly encouraged to carefully read and comply with every requirement of the application, as incomplete or incorrect applications will not be considered. Please also note that AAUW requires you to submit a TOEFEL score.
- You must be a women’s human rights lawyer from Africa in order to be considered. You must hold an LL.B. or other law degree. Preference is given to those who:
- are currently living and working in Africa, and
- do not already have a Masters’ Degree.
- The strongest applicants tend to be about five to ten years out of law school. Others with less of more experience may be considered and accepted into the LAWA Program. Candidates with no work experience and are applying directly from an LL.B. or other law school will not be considered.
- Men who are committed to women’s rights are strongly encouraged to apply.
- As a requirement of participation in the LAWA Program, all applicants must commit to return home to their own countries upon completion of the Fellowship, and to use their best professional efforts to advance women’s human rights in their counties throughout their careers.
- You must have strong English language skills, both written and oral. Language problems have been the primary barrier to success for LAWA Fellows.
- The LAWA Program requires candidates to become proficient in using computers for drafting papers and conducting research. Candidates are strongly encouraged to learn basic computer skills before arrival in order to make this transition easier. At the very minimum, candidates should work to improve their typing speed before starting the program.
- Candidates must be prepared to enter a very demanding course of study. LAWA Fellows take four required courses and several more elective courses over the course of the two semesters. Fellows are required to produce a Masters’ Thesis totaling no fewer than 40 pages, including several drafts with intense research, writing and editing. Successful completion of the program requires intense commitment, focus, and very hard work.
- The LAWA Program helps defray the costs for candidates who would not otherwise be able to afford an LL.M. degree focusing on international women’s human rights and additional professional development training.
- The LAWA Fellowship provides the tuition for the mandatory Foundations of American Law and Legal Education course held from mid-July to mid-August (a U.S. $2,000 benefit) and for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the Georgetown University Law Center (a U.S. $61,000 benefit).
- Candidates must be able to provide for their own living expenses while in the United States.
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